Police proof custodian retires after greater than twenty years serving Kalispell

Jan. 30—Medicine, weapons, and deserted bicycles: Susie Phillips noticed all of it in her 22 yr profession with the Kalispell Police Division.

Phillips, who was the primary to carry the function within the division, retired final month after serving 18 years because the division’s proof custodian.

Whereas she started her work with the division as a dispatcher, as the quantity of proof collected grew, former Chief Frank Garner determined a full-time proof custodian — accountable for logging, organizing, and sustaining the integrity of all of the proof linked to police investigations — was wanted.

Phillips was , and after getting a few certifications in proof dealing with, she hit the bottom operating. Within the first few years, Phillips realized rather a lot from the detectives who had dealt with proof duties earlier than she got here alongside.

As she gained expertise, nevertheless, Phillips turned a motherly determine to the division’s officers, educating them about correct dealing with and labeling, and even placing them of their place when she felt one thing wasn’t achieved correctly.

“I type of considered myself as their mother, as a result of I anxious about them after they have been out on calls,” Phillips stated in a latest interview of her relationship with the women and men in blue.

“I additionally needed to be their mother when it got here to disciplining them and checking their work to verify they have been packaging proof accurately. I am very choosy about how issues must be neat and legible. I might ship them a snarky e-mail, with humor, asking them “Did you overlook to do that?”

Finally all of the officers got here to get pleasure from her presence, she stated, regardless that she saved them on their toes.

“After an officer was there for a couple of months they’d understand they need to maintain Susie completely happy,” she stated.

Phillips was additionally in control of storing stolen or deserted bicycles, an everyday incidence in Kalispell that she estimated added as much as 50 bikes per yr.

For bikes that went unclaimed, the division donated them to native charities to provide to children, faculty college students, and others.

Among the many much less harmless issues to return throughout Phillips’ desk have been the medicine and weapons linked to native arrests.

When she began, Phillips stated most drug seizures have been hashish, with the occasional little bit of cocaine and meth. She stated lately, nevertheless, that the quantity of meth coming in as proof has elevated, and that she first noticed opioids reminiscent of heroin and fentanyl within the final 5 years.

After proof was now not wanted for an investigation, Phillips stated that she was in a position to pull sure “weird” objects apart for the division’s assortment of weapons and drug paraphernalia.

Amongst the gathering is a hashish pipe designed to seem like a lipstick tube and a scale designed to seem like a Snoop Dogg CD. Phillips additionally described nunchucks, do-in-yourself golf equipment and flails and knives so skinny they’ll disguise in a pockets.

To Phillips, the scariest weapon she got here throughout was an extended gun mounted beneath the hood of a automobile, with the driving force in a position to set off it whereas driving.

“It has been fairly enjoyable,” Phillips stated. “By no means a boring day.”

However to Phillips, the toughest half about saying goodbye to the job is abandoning her coworkers, who she described as “one massive household.”

“They’re essentially the most wonderful individuals,” Phillips stated of Kalispell’s legislation enforcement. “So sort and caring, they usually actually take their job severely so far as defending the group.”

Police Chief Doug Overman had a lot of reward for the work Phillips did in her time within the division, in addition to her character. Overman stated her dedication to doing the job correctly made the entire division higher.

“A tremendous individual and wonderful teammate,” Overman stated. “She made certain to deal with individuals on a person foundation, she was extraordinarily element oriented and we’re gonna miss her a ton.”

In retirement, Phillips plans on spending a lot of time together with her three rottweilers, gardening, and visiting her daughter in Oregon. She plans on staying within the Flathead Valley, and says she’ll discover some strategy to keep concerned and maintain busy, maybe by volunteering with youngsters at an area college.

And with regards to seeing her police division household, Phillips expects to go to frequently.

“I am going to positively return and replenish their sweet jars,” Phillips stated.

Reporter Adrian Knowler could be reached at 758-4407 or [email protected]

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